Around 17 million Brits travel to France annually, so this summer, why not go on an affordable adventure holiday in the French Alps? With reasonably priced accommodation and inexpensive activities, Alpe d’Huez grand domaine region, is a great family get away.
Comprising five resorts all linked by mountain lifts in the heart of the Grandes Rousses mountains: Vaujany, Auris-en-Oisans, Oz-en-Oisans, Villard Reculas and Alpe d’Huez are all ideal villages for a trouble-free and exciting holiday for all fitness levels. There are 244kms of hiking on the doorstep, 280kms of cycling trails and an abundance of fun outdoor activities.
Plus, with return flights to Lyon and accommodation costing less than £200 pp per week, Alpe d’Huez grand domaine is excellent value too.
Families find out what’s in store below: From 29 June to 30 August 2019
NEW: Hotel Eterlou in Oz-en-Oisans
Chalet Eterlou, ideally located in the hamlet of Pré Genty and facing the Belledonne massif, has transformed into a charming hotel this summer. The new hotel enjoys a privileged position less than 200m from the hiking. The hotel comprises five fully-equipped rooms including two family rooms with a cabin to accommodate two additional people. The reception room, where breakfast is served, is a large room with a fireplace and television and a relaxation area, equipped with games and books for evening entertainment. After hiking, the sauna and jacuzzi make ideal treats for relaxing moments.
Hotel Eterlou costs from €88/£79 per double room per night.
Route des Chalets, Station de l’Olmet – 38114 Oz-en-Oisans +33 (0)4 76 80 79 55
NEW: Discovery in Vaujany
Holiday makers who want that extra surge of fun can experience the thrills of Vaujany’s two new adventure orienteering trails in the heart of the Collet centre. Those who dare to venture forth will discover the resort and the mythical history of the historical village. Take on the challenge with a map, compass and follow the clues. Open daily from June to September.
For more information, visit www.vaujany.com
NEW: Dodge, Shoot, Retreat
If you liked the Hunger Games then Battle Archery is a new and exciting game, which is tactical and extremely fun for all. It’s a cross between Archery and Paintballing, that requires quick movement and tactical know-how, but without the pain. With bows and foam-tipped safety arrows, this exciting action-packed game offers multiple mission scenarios and the ultimate archery experience. Let the Battle Commence for all ages. Througout the summer season, the Tourist Office organises “introduction to archery” sessions supervised by a qualified instructor. Sign up at the Tourist Office. For more information, visit www.vaujany.com
Jump for joy in Oz-en-Oisans’ forest leisure park
Familieswho want that extra surge of adrenaline can experience the thrills of Oz-en-Oisans’ treetop adventure park in the heart of a spruce forest. Those who dare to venture to the top, will be regarded with breath-taking views of the Belledonne mountain range as they clamber over suspended obstacles and whizz down zip wires. Three courses are available to suit different age ranges. The park is open Tuesday to Sunday from 10am to 6pm in July and August and for groups larger than eight people who reserve in June and September. New for this year a special Marmotte course has been set up for the three to five-year olds
Discover the picturesque Oz Canyon with a succession of natural flumes and jumps via a two km descent on this half day guided activity. €55 per person in groups of three to six people. For more information, visit www.guidesoisans.com
With 264 kilometres of mountain-biking tracks conveniently accessed by nine cable-car lifts, cycling in Alpe d’Huez grand domaine could not be easier, or more exciting. Keen families can check out the Oisans Col Series, a free event which takes place every Tuesday morning which for the first time goes over the Col from Oz en Oisans. Here, anyone with two wheels (and road-cycling experience) can explore the mountain cols in Oisans at their own pace, without having to worry about cars. During July and August for those completing the ascent they will be greeted by refreshments and stunning panoramic views from the top at 1,055 metres. Alternatively, Oz-en-Oisans and Vaujany are also home to the Kids Park, which is ideal for beginners (free access, no minimum age), and the Pump Track: combining a series of banked bends, cavities and bumps on an exciting mountain-bike track, perfect for perfecting those handling techniques (free access, no minimum age). For more information, visit www.oisans-col-series.com/en/
Learn to Mountain Bike
When in the mountains why not learn to mountain bike with an instructor? The MCF school from Grenoble takes up its summer residence in Oz. MCF professional instructors offer a day’s MTB training for all levels: introductory sessions for beginners, downhill courses for experienced riders. Mountain bikes, protection kit, instruction and lift pass included for €35. For the little ones aged six to eight years old an afternoon of biking fun is available from €30. Three-day courses are available for the 11 – 18year olds from initiation to honing expert Enduro skills. For more information, visit oz-en-oisans.com
NEW: Megavalanche Oz en Oisans Enduro
For those who would still ignore it, the Megavalanche in Alpe d’Huez Grand Domaine is one of the most famous and not-to-be missed downhill marathon races. Since 1995, thousands of riders take the departure from the famous Pic Blanc mountain. The mass start at 3330 meters starts high on the glacier and finish at 2600 meters in Allemont, This the longest and craziest downhill marathon race in the world. Running from 8 to 14 July 2019 the event sees 2,000 cyclists from 20 different countries taking part in three days of training and racing. In its third year the Oz urban enduro race will take place on 10 July and is available to all those registered for La Megavalanche. Registration for La Megavalanche starts from £43For more information, Mega Avalanche: Mega Avalanche or oz-en-oisans.com
NEW: Moonlight Nocturnal Ascent
The Montée d’Oz from Lake Verney to the resort is a test trail for all bike enthusiasts. A real challenge with a demanding climb of 7.5 km with an average incline of over 12%. The Oz climb is equipped with Timtoo Timing devices to calculate each performance. Enjoy this car free closed road whilst making the nocturnal ascent from the lake to the Oz-en-Oisans resort. In addition, every Wednesday morning in July and August a timed collective start heads out from the heart of the village on this route. Everyone is invited to participate by bike, running or walking. For more information, visit www.oz-en-oisans.com
NEW: Bike Friendly Accommodation
Auberge Passoud, close to Oz is a small rustic property with five bedrooms serving B&B and traditional evening meals. It has e bike charging points and offers bike friendly services.
52 € / pp / night breakfast included
65 € / night / 2pers breakfast included
18 € / meal
For more information, visit www.gite-passoud.com
NEW: Race through the French alps on the Oisans Trail Tour in Oz en Oisans
The Oisans Trail Tour is a race that takes place each year in the Oisans region. The third addition highlights a new Oisans Trail Tour that sees contestants take on one of the three routes which incorporate the villages of Oz en Oisans, Vaujany, Alpe d’Huez, Auris en Oisans and Villard-Reculas. Starting and finishing in Oz, the three courses cater to dedicated long-distance athletes as well as more casual competitors with 87km, 30km and 15km options. There are also children’s races available for the younger one’s keen to get involved. The Oisans Trail Tour runs on the 19 and 20 July 2019 and entry for the 15km race costs £12. For more information, visit www.oisanstrailtour.fr
Barking Mad? Take on a race through the French Alps with your dog
Canicross is an annual race where competitors can take part with their dogs at their side as part of the internationally renowned Trophée des Montagnes. The first part of the event will take place from 3-5 August in Oz-en-Oisans, with past events welcoming more than 250 participants from around the world. Visitors who miss out on the earlier stages (or those who can’t get enough of the entertaining canine competition) can watch as runners compete with their trusty dogs. The competition is open to all levels and all breeds of dogs, and anyone can come along and watch. Kids can also compete in their dedicated class of race. More information about the competition can be found here. The final will take place in Auris on 9 – 11 August.
Alpe d’Huez grand domaine offers 250 miles of marked routes, from pushchair-friendly strolls to more challenging treks. Eager walkers can tackle the prestigious peaks in the Massif des Grandes Rousses or in the Ecrins National Park, whereas those after a leisurely experience can saunter to one of the 12 lakes for a relaxing picnic and make the most of the panoramic views. In Auris en Oisans, families can sign up to the discovery walk: equipped with binoculars, look out for chamois and marmots without disturbing them (hire binoculars from €10 / £8 pp for half-a-day). The same activity is also available in Vaujany for free.
NEW: Gourmet Hiking
Every Thursday during the summer months, the mountain huts in the Oisans region throw open their doors to hikers for a special healthy gastronomic celebration. The hut caretaker provides local homemade dishes, traditional local products and organic regional treats for all to savour. At the heart of the Grandes Rousses, located at 2280m, the refuge of the Fare has over 134 years of history. It’s a great base to try fishing, mountaineering, climbing and hiking. In Summer discover the geological and botanical wealth or enjoy an aperitif at sunset with canapes of edible plants gathered locally.
On Thursday July 1st head for the Refuge de la Fare at 2280 meters accessible walking on foot from the l’Alpette lift – Vaujany and Oz (one hour). Gilbert Orcel will set the scene of the history of the resistance in Oisans back in August 1944 where the hut served as a hospital during the 2nd World War. Followed by a delicious meal of soups, sheeps cheese and wild pickling. Half board for the night at the hut Adults: 40€ pp, eight – 18 years old: €30, Children eight and under €20. 4 July – 29 August inclusive. For more information, visit www.oz-en-oisans.com
NEW: Gourmet Walk in Auris
Discover the hamlets of Auris with Alain the mountain guide who will share secrets of yesteryear and tales of the surrounding landscape. In each hamlet taste a different menu course of a menu trying out regional specialities. Price: 25 € / adult 18 € / child (5-12 years old) Register at Auris Tourist Information Office +33 (0)4 76 80 13 52. Email: email@example.com
NEW: Marked Nordic Walking
This Finnish craze has swept the Alps where Nordic walking is a total body version of walking that can be enjoyed by anyone as a health-promoting physical activity. The activity is performed with specially designed walking poles similar to ski poles and Mathieu Rougier will take walkers out free of charge. For more information, visit www.oz-en-oisans.com
FREE: Child Fun
Auris en Oisans has two permanent marked paths to help families and children orientate themselves around the resort. The first path shows the resort and the second which leads to the discovery of the forest and on the panoramic paths of Auris. Maps are free of charge at the tourist office. For more information, visit www.aurisenoisans.com
For the more adventurous, try one of two routes of the via ferrata that starts at the La Fare waterfall near Vaujany and has routes on the Massif for beginners and seasoned climbers. Mountain guides can be arranged for those after a specific experience (cost on request), but anyone can enjoy the plethora of flora and fauna in across the mountains. For more information, visit vaujany.com
Weekly Vaujany organises a guided open stroll to all to discover the various easy routes of the Massif des Grandes Rousses and around the village. Part of this is highlighting the three village museums. For more information, visit www.vaujany.com
Oz-en-Oisans activity card
Oz-en-Oisans offers a wide range of summer activities and entertainment and, the resort is offering a newly enhanced activity card to offer them at a better price. The card will be available when visitors stay at the resort’s partner accommodation and will entitle them to discounted access to sports facilities such as the swimming pool, forest park, cross country scooters, mountain lifts and much more. For more information, visit www.oz-en-oisans.com
The Wizard of Oz (en Oisans)
Starting on 6 August 2019, the breath taking Festival of Magic will host a variety of magicians and illusionists performing their astounding feats and tricks in Oz en Oisans. The event promises to appeal to a large audience with acts covering ventriloquism, jugglers, illusionists and Chinese shadow theatre. Alongside the professionals, there will also be the chance for four young talented magicians to perform and impress the crowd with their routines. The closing gala will take place on 16 August.
NEW: Circus Festival
Brand new for this season is the Vaujany Circus Festival. Over two days celebrate the future of circus: daring and diverse, punky and poetic performed by Warren Zavatta This modern-day performance shows, games on the theme of the circus to entertain the whole family. A free festival for young and old alike on 25 and 26 July 2019. For more information, visit Vaujany: www.vaujany.com
In the best possible taste
If you love sampling local food the Night Market is perfect for adventurous appetites and tingling taste buds. Every Thursday evening local producers and craftsmen from Oisans, Isère and Rhône Alpes gather together to share with you their knowledge and products. For more information, visit www.oz-en-oisans.com
Weekly barbecue in Villard Reculas
Every Tuesday between 7pm and 10pm, the Villard Reculas tourist office will fire up the barbecue so that visitors can cook their own meat or vegetarian options in a convivial setting. For more information, visit www.villard-reculas.com
NEW: Music Festival
This summer Auris en Oisans is hosting a musical cacophony from 4 to 16 July. A host of music styles in locations across the resort. For more information, visit www.aurisenoisans.com
NEW: Renovated Spa de la
After an active week, parents can treat themselves to a day at the newly renovated Spa de la Fare in Vaujany. Inside, make the most of the pool, spa, whirlpool, sauna, Jacuzzi and a selection of massages and treatments. During the summer, Spa de la Fare is open from 10.30 to 19.30 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and from 10.30 to 19.30 and again from 20.30 to 22.30 on Wednesday. Entrance to the spa costs from €10 / £8 pp. For more information, visit vaujany.com
Relax and reconnect with Villard Reculas’ free
Simply being in the mountains can do wonders to those in need of some down time. To help holidaymakers unwind even more, Villard Reculas is providing a selection of free wellness workshops such as Pilates, Yoga and Tai Chi classes and sessions for those who suffer from back pain. Participants will learn techniques that they can try again at home. For more information, visit www.villard-reculas.com
Oisans Col Series – Cols du Glandon and de la Croix de Fer: Tuesday 2 July 2019 from 9am to noon.
Oz Enduro: Wednesday 10 July 2019
Bastille Day: Sunday 14 July 2019
Oisans Col Series – Col de Sarenne: Tuesday 9 July 2019 from 9am to noon.
Oisans Col Series – La Montee d’Oz; Tuesday 16 July 2019
Oisans Col Series – Col de Sarenne: Tuesday 9 July 2019 from 9am to noon.
Oisans Trail Tour 2019; Friday 19 and Saturday 20 July 2019
Oisans Col Series – Villard Reculas; Tuesday 23 July 2019 from 9am to 11am.
Oisans Col Series – Le Verney to the Col du Sabot Vaujany; Tuesday July 30 2019
Canicross in Oz; Saturday 3 – Monday 5 August 2019
Oisans Col Series – Col de Sarenne: Tuesday 13 august 2019 from 9am to noon.
Oisans Col Series – Auris-en-Oisans: Tuesday 20 August from 9am to 11am.
Oisans Col Series – Col d’Ornon: Tuesday 27 August 2019 from 9am to 11am.
For more information about activities and events please visit the resorts’ websites:
Oz-en-Oisans : www.oz-en-oisans.com
Villard Reculas: www.villard-reculas.com